AAP colleagues of MLA Sandeep Kumar, who was sacked as minister Wednesday following appearance of “objectionable” videos and photographs, speculated those may have been taken at least four to six years ago.
Though Kumar has not been communicative with the party since his sacking, senior AAP leaders, at the receiving end of a volley of questions and allegations from the opposition, have been trying to analyse what went wrong with the decision to bring the Dalit leader into the fold. Minutes after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the sacking of his minister, former party colleague Yogendra Yadav alleged that the AAP had violated the candidate selection process in the 2015 Assembly elections, one of the reasons for the growing differences between Kejriwal and AAP dissidents. Yadav maintained that the lack of proper scrutiny of AAP candidates had led to such repeated cases of dismissals.
“I am shocked and ashamed and sad, but I am not surprised. Prashant Bhushan and I had repeatedly said that in general, the standards of scrutiny were very lax for party candidates. People with known dubious backgrounds were being allowed and whatever we had prescribed as a procedure to scrutinise was overlooked. We had said there should be a window for the public to lodge complaints and that it should be checked by an independent committee. But whenever we raised objections, Arvind Kejriwal would put the onus on us to provide legal evidence within 24 hours against the candidate. We had done that too for 12 of them,” said Yadav Thursday.
Dismissing the allegations, AAP Delhi Convenor Dilip Pandey said, “We did whatever background check could be done and got details of all probable candidates’ criminal history, if there were any. However, it is not possible to predict what one will do when he or she is elected and appointed as a minister.”
Pandey also put the spotlight on the opposition, claiming the Congress and BJP too have leaders caught in similar situations. “This is not the first time that a minister or political leader has been caught on the wrong foot in public life. At least the AAP does not sit on such cases and defend its tainted party members. The BJP and Congress have no right to pass judgments on us.”